A deck is a beautiful addition to any home—with proper care, that is. Water, insects, sunlight, and other factors can cause wood decking to wear down, affecting its appearance and decreasing its longevity and safety.
Luckily, there are plenty of simple solutions you can carry out to maintain the life of your wooden deck if you’re keen on home improvement. For more advanced solutions, give us a call. Our team at House Repair and Care & Handyman Service can meet your all deck repair needs.
Cleaning Your Deck
- Debris can cause issues regardless of material. Cleaning your deck at least once a year will remove any algae buildup from especially wet areas on the boards and help maintain the wood’s natural oils.
- Your pressure-treated lumber deck is better protected against environmental effects but still has a warping effect on wet boards over time. A cleaning solution that removes mildew will help prevent further rotting and warping.
- Although effective, a pressure washer can damage softwood decks, such as cedar or spruce. Avoiding pressure washing when you wash your deck is the safest route to go to maintain your deck’s longevity.
- Unless your deck is cedar, you don’t need to do a deep clean during the first year of having it. If your deck is relatively clean, you can spot-clean it until after the first year.
- With any wooden deck, you should clean thoroughly before staining to remove stray particles on the wood, so the stain applies evenly to the boards.
- Using a garden hose with an adjustable nozzle to clean your deck provides the gentle or firm stream of water necessary without creating significant damage to the wood.
- Sweeping your deck with a broom while wet will provide the extra force needed to brush away debris effectively.
Inspections and Repairs
- A yearly deck inspection to check for structural damage and other issues that may decrease the stability or longevity of your deck is useful to help monitor mildew, moss, termites, and termite damage, as well as water damage and rotting boards.
- Be sure to inspect metal pieces like beams or joists that hold your deck together if they suffer wear and tear from rust.
- To restore the structural integrity of your deck, you’ll need to replace any missing or damaged pieces, including small parts like nails and screws.
Staining and Sealing
- Preservatives in wood decking can repel water and liquids for some time after installation. It’s best to wait a month before attempting to seal your deck to ensure the preservatives are broken down enough for absorption.
- Let your deck dry for at least two days in between cleaning and applying a sealant to be sure that it’s dry.
- Your sealant should be waterproof or repellent rather than water-resistant to adequately withstand moisture.
- For the most precise results, use paint rollers and brushes to apply sealant to your deck.
- Clear, sunny weather is necessary for your newly sealed deck to dry without issue. Wait until you have good weather to stain and seal your deck.
- Applying sealant to damp wood causes it to go on unevenly, reducing effectiveness, so wait until your wood is completely dry.
- While it’s not typically necessary to apply more than one coat of sealant, wait 24 hours before applying another layer to avoid chipping if you do need to do so.
- The top layer on the wood can prevent sealant from penetrating the wood, but sanding solves this problem.
- For the ultimate protection and appearance, stain and seal your deck appropriately with a combined solution or one after the other.
- Avoid painting your deck. Paint offers little to no protection from water or sunlight and chips away with very little effort.
- Avoid water damage to your deck by keeping your gutters clean and repairing them when necessary.
- Install an awning over your deck to avoid significant water damage from rain, melting snow, and ice, as well as UV rays from the sun.
- Protect your deck from the heat by choosing a light-colored wood that won’t absorb heat in high temperatures.
- Move outdoor planters with improper drainage to avoid leaking water onto wood for extended periods.
- Fill holes and cracks with wood putty or sealant to avoid moisture penetration or expansion from fluctuating temperatures.